Gone Girl is a story of a missing woman, a suspected murder and her wrongly accused husband. Amy Elliot is the girl in question, though nearing her forties, she hardly qualifies as a girl. Amy is married to Nick Dunne and the two live in New York where they enjoy the most glamorous of all fictional careers–they’re writers. The drawn out description we’re given regarding Amy and Nick’s life is painfully tedious. Yes we realize they’re beautiful, intelligent and successful in life. And yes we also know to expect a fall-out fairly soon. The book begins in the mid-noughties so the references to current events are still fresh in most of our minds. The recession is looming over everyone; the Internet is destroying print journalism, etc. Even Amy’s wealthy parents, who made their millions from kids books about their daughter “Amazing Amy,” lose their vast fortune.
The tag line for the book, “There are two sides to every story,” refers to the fact that we see their world from both Amy’s and Nick’s eyes. Amy gives us their relationship’s background through her diary whereas Nick kicks off in the present: the day Amy goes missing. This adds further (intended) confusion as sometimes the two stories completely contradict each other presenting a “Who should we believe?” sort of quandary.
Many Irish writers are preoccupied with what has affected them their whole life: the Irish family. Described by everyone from Samuel Beckett to Cecelia Ahern, there is no escape from this fundamental part of our society.
Enright chooses the fourteen member Hegarty clan to really convey the many faces of Irish people. In her fictional family, there is a priest (albeit he wants to leave the priesthood), an alcoholic and a deranged housewife–to name but a stereotypical few. At the heart of this huge family is the Irish Mammy. Enright’s Mammy Hegarty differs though, in that she is not the boisterous, headstrong leader that many Irish mothers are. She is meek, weighed down by her children (both dead and alive) and as time progresses, she is only too happy to let them take care of her instead.
The story is told through the eyes of Veronica Hegarty, one of the children. Enright almost immediately introduces Veronica’s brother Liam and his recent death. What ensues is Veronica’s various emotions of distress, mourning, guilt and reflection on the troubled childhood she had with Liam. Veronica acknowledges that Liam’s death is most likely connected to a terrible incident that occurred many years ago at their grandmother’s home. This incident is referred to vaguely up until halfway through when she actually reveals it. The exposure is skillful because it slips in almost casually without being thrown in your face. Read a line ahead and you’d nearly miss it completely.
Written by: Colm TÃ³ibÃn (pronounced “Toebeen”) Published by: Picador
Colm TÃ³ibÃn has become an award-winning novelist with his book The Master, which won the IMPAC Prize, the Los Angeles Times Novel of the Year and the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger in 2005. It was also short-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2004.
Wexford-born Colm tells the story of the great American novelist Henry James. James moves to England permanently after he tires of his upper-class American society peers. He believes that Europe is far more enriched in history and art than his own homeland.
TÃ³bÃnâ€™s style is remarkable. He uses the genre of “biography” and turns it into a fictional novel. Instead of sticking to the more journalistic method of finding facts and laying them out, Colm makes it easier to read by writing this fantastic tale of Henry James’ life. Obviously, the writer is the subject matter for the book. The themes deal in a range spanning life, love, loss, fear, death, happiness, pain and loneliness; all of which inspire writers on a daily basis.
James’ struggle with the loss of so many loved ones features a great deal as he has lost most of his family members and one of his closest friends. One prominent theme throughout the novel is James’ repressed homosexuality. At a time when Oscar Wilde was on trial for his promiscuous behaviour, it was near to impossible for him to even hint at his true self publicly.
Widge’s Note: Everyone, please welcome new book reviewer Orla.
In Deaf Sentence, David Lodge has portrayed the difficulties posed by being hard of hearing exactly as one would expect them to be. And worse. He looks at Desmond Bates, a linguistics lecturer and his gradual decline into inevitable deafness.